Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 20 Preview

Fluminense x Ceará
Cruzeiro x Internacional
Grêmio x Atlético Goianiense
Goiás x Guarani
São Paulo x Flamengo
Vitória x Palmeiras
Atlético Paranaense x Corinthians
Santos x Botafogo
Vasco da Gama x Atlético Mineiro
Prudente x Avaí

So, we get underway for the second half of the season with Fluminense in pole position, although with a game in hand Corinthians are only a point behind. And it's Fluminense who get the week underway on Wednesday night when the entertain a Ceará side that is slowly slipping down the table after a great start and without a win in four. Flu need to be on their guard if they aren't to suffer a repeat of their loss from Week 1. Inter had other things on their mind when they went down to Cruzeiro in week 1 but since their Libertadores win Inter are also racking up the points in the league. Both sides are next to each other in the form table and home advantage might just swing things in the favour of a Cruzeiro side boosted by that great come from behind victory at weekend. Grêmio and Atlético-GO finished goalless in their meeting on the opening day, Grêmio's away day blues are well documented but their home form hasn't been too clever this year and with Atlético-GO's great win at the weekend will give them the belief they can take all three points away from the Fortress.

Goiás are rock bottom and if things don't get better much sooner they are only heading in one direction, Série B. Goiás are rock bottom of the league and lost their last six games on the spin so Guarani will fancy their chances of repeating their 1-0 victory in Week 1 as the consolidate in mid table. The big clash is between long time rivals São Paulo and Flamengo at the Morumbi. Flamengo have been woeful this season, mind you São Paulo haven't been much better but at least they are climbing the table as they look to claim a place in the Libertadores at minimum. They teams drew 1-1 in the opening week but the smart money this time will be on São Paulo. Vitória got a right beating at weekend by Atlético-GO and you wonder what that has done for the confidence as they welcome draw specialists Palmeiras. Vitória were in the middle of Copa do Brasil action when they lost 1-0 on the opening weekend of the season and given their records since that game the smart money would be on the draw. Atlético-PR are joint top of the form table at the moment and they visit of title chasing Corinthians is the test they need if they are to prove their credentials. Corinthians can sense a weakness in Fluminense now and if they repeat their opening Week victory and results go their way they could be back on top of the pile by weekend.

The state champions of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro meet at the Vila Belmiro as Santos in third meet Botafogo in fifth. There probably isn't a bigger clash than this at the moment as both teams have 31 points in the table and if it's half the game the 3-3 draw was back at the Engenhão in May there is guaranteed entertainment. The contrast in the seasons for Atlético-MG and Vasco da Gama is alarming, after Atlético-MG's opening week win over Vasco you'd have though it was business as usual for the Belo Horizonte club but they've leaked and leaked goals. For Vasco, they bring the longest unbeaten run in the league into this game, it now stands at 11 games since a pre-World Cup 4-0 defeat at Santos. With better form before the break they'd be in the running for a Libertadores spot at minimum. Prudente entertain Avaí and revenge must be the order of the day after their 6-1 humping in Florianópolis on the opening weekend. Prudente are without a win in four but Avaí haven't won since their success over Corinthians five rounds ago and they've picked up a single point in that time. Avaí need to regain some of that early season confidence but Prudente are now in a desperate battle against relegation and need the points to get themselves back on track as soon as possible.

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